We all know how important it is to tell our children that we love them. Sometimes it feels like something we say without even thinking about it.
But there are a myriad of other things that we should be communicating to our children on a daily or semi-regular basis. These are thoughts and questions that will not only reinforce how we feel about our children but will help to grow their curiosities and increase their confidence levels.
Our words of praise or concern and our incisive questions reveal to our children that not only do we love them but that we are interested in their lives and want to play an active role. Our words will also spur important conversations and teach our children to trust us and share their innermost feelings with us.
Here are a few questions that you should consider asking your child everyday:
What did you learn today?
Did you help anyone today?
Did you see anything that surprised you, saddened you, made you think?
What made you smile/laugh today?
One of the goals of these questions to spur your child's thinking and enable them to see their actions in a broader context — how do their actions affect others? They will begin to see their lives as connected to the outside world. The more you ask these questions the more your child will begin to look for answers to these questions throughout their day. That will encourage them to look for reasons to laugh or opportunities to help others.
Another goal is to create conversation points for you and your children. Oftentimes as our kids grow up, they pull apart from us, becoming unwilling to share as much as they did when they were young. These questions might help bridge that gap.
There might also be a benefit for parents. Your children will turn the questions around on you. They will ask what you did to help someone or what you witnessed during your day that was surprising or memorable.
And here are a few things that you should consider saying to your child everyday:
Your feelings matter to me.
I want to know how you feel.
You are worthwhile.
I'm listening to you. (And really mean it.)
These statements can help build a child's confidence and help them grow as positive, motivated, self-reliant individuals. Your words will help them feel loved, important and understand that their lives matter.